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Impressive car market rally [22-06-2012]  
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VEHICLE sales in May rose by an impressive 27% year-on-year and 22% month-on-month to 58,299 units, the highest since August last year's festive-driven sales of 58,382 units. The industry has not witnessed such a strong year-on-year monthly sales growth since January 2010.

While sales growth was seen across all vehicle segments, sales growth of the passenger car sub-segment was among the strongest.

With a market share of 30% in May, Perodua was still comfortably on top in terms of monthly vehicle sales. While its market share advanced by close to 6% percentage points year-on-year (y-o-y) due to supply recovery and sales contribution from the new Myvi, its market share was flat on a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis.

Unlike the sales of Viva which were affected by the stricter lending requirements, Myvi's sales were relatively unscathed.

In contrast, Proton's market share fell 6% percentage points y-o-y to 24%, suggesting some cannibalisation by the Myvi. But its market share inched up 3.4% percentage points m-o-m, thanks to a full-month contribution from Preve (2,771 units in May from 494 units April) and strong sales from core models like Persona, Saga (+12% m-o-m) and Exora.

Sales growth of the passenger car sub-segment is among the strongest.

After bouncing back 260% m-o-m in March and 73% m-o-m in April, Honda staged another impressive 49% m-o-m sales growth in May. We expect the upward momentum to persist due to continued supply recovery and the release of new models such as the Honda City facelift and all-new Civic.

Honda's market share in May rose 1% percentage point to 5.5%.

Relative to Honda and the industry's strong double-digit m-o-m sales growth, Toyota's 4% m-o-m sales uptick failed to excite. As a result, its market share fell by close to 3% percentage points to 16.6% in May.

Given that Nissan's market share held up on a m-o-m basis, Honda's market share gains seemed to be at the expense of Toyota. But its 53% y-o-y vehicle sales jump was among the strongest in the industry, courtesy of new models such as Avanza (launched in January, Prius C and Prius facelift (both launched in February).

We expect sales to pick up on the back of the newly launched Camry this month. Initial response to the new model has been positive, with over 2,000 units booked so far.

Nissan's vehicle sales rose 12% y-o-y and 15% m-o-m, lagging behind the industry growth of 27% y-o-y and 22% m-o-m. The Teana continued to fall short of our monthly sales target of 350 units and management's 500 units.

Even the new NV200 failed to boost Nissan's overall sales. Monthly sales for the NV200 have been quite disappointing at 71 units in May, way below the company's target of 200 to 300 units per month. Nissan's market share slipped 0.3% percentage points m-o-m and 0.7% percentage points y-o-y to 5% in May.

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